Cold emailing is an art form, and just like any other art form, it can be practiced with finesse so that the final product doesn’t seem robotic or generic. Today I’m going to share some tips on how to send a cold email that actually gets a response.

The two-step process

First, you have to capture someone’s attention, and second, you need to make them take action.

In order for your cold emails to get noticed, the subject line has to be compelling enough. In other words, it needs to be short and sweet. It’s not an opportunity to get verbose.

When you start writing the email, make sure it has a personal touch. Don’t write something like “We’ve never talked before.” That puts your recipient on high alert that what follows will probably be spammy or generic. Instead, tell them something along the lines of “I noticed that you’re a  big fan of [xyz]. I also love  that about XYZ!”

This way they know that not only have you done your homework, but you’ve taken the time to learn what makes them tick. It’s a small step, but it’s an important one.

Once they respond, ask them if they have time for a phone call or meeting. If you’re emailing someone that’s really busy, don’t bother asking them to reply to you with feedback– it won’t happen. Instead, ask them if they can spare five minutes on the phone so you can just pick their brain.

If they agree, congrats! You’re one step closer to pitching them. If they give you the cold shoulder, don’t take it personally. Some people just aren’t interested in talking with startups no matter how compelling their offer is, and that’s okay!

Don’t be a stalker

There’s a fine line between proactive and stalking.  Here’s an example of how NOT to do it:

Subject line: Hi Sam, I noticed that you’re a big fan of Moz.

Okay, so this is bad for two reasons. First, your subject line gives the impression that you got their email address from somewhere other than your cold email (usually not a good sign), and second, it’s not personalized.

Personalize, personalize, personalize

You should always start your email by addressing the recipient by name and mentioning how you found them (e.g., Google search, MozCon attendee list). If you can’t find anything to mention about them or their company, try saying something like “I came across your name as I was researching companies like  mine.”

The more personalized you make it, the higher your response rate will be.

Be honest

If you’re trying to get someone’s time and cooperation, don’t lie and say that you’ll do something if they agree (e.g., “If we could chat for 10 minutes, I could make this even more valuable for you!”). Instead, tell them what you want and ask if they can help.

The simpler you make your request, the better. If they say yes, it’s a win!

Don’t ask for something ridiculous

You have to play within the limits of their busy schedule. Don’t ask for a 30-minute call when they only have 5 minutes to spare, or you’ll get rejected quickly. Instead, make your request realistic.

Bridge the gap with social proof

Sometimes it’s hard to convince someone who doesn’t know you from Adam that spending time with you will be beneficial to their company. That’s why you should always include social proof somewhere in your email.

What kind of social proof can you include?

Try mentioning an influencer that mentioned your product or someone who recently downloaded it and is now seeing stellar results, for example. If nothing like that applies to the person you’re trying to reach out to, try recommending a helpful blog post or an interesting resource.

No-fail examples include “10 email marketing tools to boost your business” (if you’re in the content marketing space) or “3 social media tools that will save you time” (if they work at a company that does social media or PR).

Do your research

The more information about them and their company you have, the better your chances of success. The more specific you can be when pitching them, the higher the chance they’ll say yes to an intro.

If you know their biggest pain point and you happen to have a solution that’s perfect for it, by all means, include that in your email! If they’re short on time and need a reliable virtual employee, highlight your remote team. You get the idea.

Collections of links can make great social proof

Include their logos next to the logos of some well-known companies that have been mentioned on your blog or talked about in some way by a guest you interviewed. Be sure to link back to these people and companies so they can check out the posts you’re talking about.

Don’t go overboard with your social proof or it’ll seem like you’re just trying to impress them. Including too many logos and links can actually hurt your chances of getting a response because people will think that’s all you have to offer. Keep it relevant and be as specific as possible.

Send it out and watch the replies roll in!

Remember to stay positive and not give up if your first round of cold emails doesn’t produce any results. According to Outreach, the average salesperson makes six attempts before they get a response, so don’t be discouraged by your first rejections.

And never forget: always personalized, never promised.

I hope this article has helped you learn how to send cold emails that will get high response rates.

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